Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into a complex and atmospheric novel.
Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of iniquity and corruption.
This is the second time I’ve read this book. The first time I read it was after several months of owning it. I was on an airplane and brought it with me to force myself to read it. I remember liking it very much the first time. This time reading it is because there has been a fourth book that came out recently which has motivated me to reread the entire series. I’m very glad I did.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an incredibly written book. It was first written in Swedish and translated to English once it became more popular. Because it’s a translated book much of the book takes place in Sweden and many of the names are very difficult to pronounce. I think that just makes it all the more interesting. I don’t know a whole lot about Sweden so I was very intrigued .
This book starts off with so many different back stories that it’s almost confusing. Several different characters are introduced in the first half of the book and even more are introduced when Mikael Blomkvist takes a new temporary job. It takes almost too long for some of the characters introduced to meet and because I’ve read it before, I know that they do and it made me anticipate their meeting. I love how detailed the book is. We are given so much information on these people that we’re not totally sure how they will connect to one another. As you read the book you learn more about the characters then what the characters know about each other. That’s something I love about being the reader; those details that the author gives us that no one in the story knows. I think it adds suspense because you’re wondering if/when will the other characters learn those things and sometimes they never do. That was the case in this book with a few details. The beginning of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is filled with many minute details that become important the further you read into the book.
The characters become more and more complex as you read. Blomkvist starts off as the main character. He’s a financial journalist, which is something I didn’t know was a thing until I read these books. Stieg Larsson makes it sound almost exciting. I really like Blomkvist because he’s very passionate about what he does. It may not be all that exciting in real life, but he has a specific set of morals that he tries to stick to and I really loved that about him. Throughout these pages his morals are really tested and sometimes even disregarded to benefit other characters he’s grown to care about. His life is very interesting. Between his job and the women he chooses to bring into his life. He seems to be good at finding himself in very interesting situations. The book starts off with his life seemingly falling apart. We get to follow him as he tries to put it back together. There are many situations that I never saw coming. That’s something I like when I read. I love to be surprised. I love the crazy plot twists and trust me, this book had a few.
I’ll move onto the Vanger family next. There are entirely too many members to discuss them individually. Henrik Vanger sees himself as the most normal in the family. I can definitely agree with that after finishing the book. He’s on the brink of obsessed with the mystery of his niece’s, Harriet, disappearance almost forty years ago. He hired Blomkvist to see if the journalist can discover anything new about this mystery. The rest of the family thinks that Blomkvist is there to write a historical novel about the family. It’s better that way. Once the family starts finding out why he’s really there they start to create problems for the journalist. Most members of the Vanger family really annoyed me. They all just seem really petty and bitter over stupid little things. One member, Harold, hates his daughter because she had a relationship with someone that was partially Jewish. At one point he blatantly calls her a whore. This is on the lighter side of the insanity that is the Vanger family. The things that are learned about this family just escalate the further into the book you read. I won’t give details because that will just spoil things and you really should just read this craziness.
Then there’s Lisbeth Salander. She is portrayed by the Swedish government as crazy, but I really think that’s the last thing she is. She, like Blomkvist is extremely passionate about what she cares about. Though, she doesn’t seem to care about much until closer to the end of the book. Lisbeth is an extremely creative girl that seems to like a challenge. Once she sets her mind to something you should just step out of her way before she runs right over you, or ties you to a bed and tattoos you, as she does in this book. I think Lisbeth is my favorite out of everyone I met in these pages. She, again like Blomkvist, sticks to her morals. While her morals are much looser than his. She isn’t one to back down from a fight. She can acknowledge when she’s lost, but guaranteed she will come back for round two without you even knowing there is a round two. She’s a bad ass chick and I’m excited to read more about her in the next book.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The descriptions of all the different settings were awesome. I loved getting to know the Vanger family, even if most of them are batshit crazy. These characters really grew on me, and I’m very excited to see where the next book takes me. This book was turned into a movie that I’m sure many of you have heard of. I’ve seen the movie and as usual, it can’t compare to the book at all. If you like crazy suspenseful murder mystery mixed with hints of a very complicated love story, this is a great book for you.
Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.